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From Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW)

We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Protest against the appearance of Hanneford Circus in Westchester


February 13, 2016

Kiley Blackman
[email protected]

Protest against the appearance of Hanneford Circus in Westchester
Cruel circus not welcome, just cited by the USDA for harming elephants.

Westchester County, NY - Members of several animal advocacy organizations will be protesting the appearance of the Royal Hanneford Circus at County Center, on Feb. 13, 2016, from noon - 2 PM.

The USDA recently filed an Animal Welfare Act violation against Hanneford for mishandling elephants and causing them to have lacerations and abrasions - which is just one of the many, many instances when they've failed to meet minimum federal standards for animal care. They were cited for keeping otherwise-sociable chimpanzees in solitary confinement "to make them more motivated to perform' they used an elephant trainer who was caught on videotape attacking elephants with a bullhook and electric prod and instructing other trainers to 'make them scream,' twist the bullhook into their flesh - and make sure the public doesn't see it barring inspectors from the premises, failure to produce records of mandatory tuberculosis testing, keeping large dogs in cramped cages, the list goes on and on. See this PDF.

Elephant rampages are common, even though they're not widely publicized. Since 2000, elephants have bolted from circuses 35 times, ran amok through streets, crashed into buildings, attacked members of the public, and killed and injured handlers. A circus elephant named Tyke was shot almost 100 times as she ran through the streets after being abused for years. An elephant rampaged through the stands in Poughkeepsie right after leaving White Plains. Reporter Robert Masterson traveled undercover with Hanneford in 2001 he wrote, "For the animals, circus life is no picnic. I can't say the elephants appeared to be happy animals. Two of the three were over 60 years old, and while on the road or not actually performing, all the elephants and horses spent their time in travel trailers. The elephants were chained, front and back, when they were not performing." News 12 has consistently been denied access behind the scenes.

Hanneford is now taking pigs from their families and exploiting them for people to laugh at and mock - even though pigs are three times as smart as dogs, are gentle and sociable and deserve a good life. See this PDF.

Kiley Blackman, organizer of this event, said, "We want people to think about about the suffering these animals endure, about where they come from, and where they're going when they leave - which is to boxcars, chains, separation from their families and beatings. Every one of those animals is sentient, intelligent and had a family who loved him they are not blocks of wood to be stolen away and forced to do stupid 'tricks.'

"This is an hour of laughs for you - and a lifetime of misery for them. Can't people give up one hour of laughs, are we so desperate for 'fun' that we just don't care what it costs others? People act like they'll collapse if they can't see this freak show - which is what it is. There is no excuse for anyone to attend these miserable events in this day and age - all the violations, infractions and undercover video is available online. A reporter wrote of seeing Hanneford's elephants 'chained in front and in back' behind the scenes - how would you like that? It's time to have respect for animals, they are not our property, not ours to dominate. Why do we need to see an elephant stand on her head?? We are a nation of spectators - we've gotta have amusement with our popcorn, no matter how bizarre or cruel. Is it okay just as long as they're not actually beaten right in front of our faces?Animals remember a good beating - they see that bullhook and obey. People take elephant rides like the animal is nothing, just four hollow moving legs...but they're wrong. The animals have minds just like we do, families just like we do...and they have a beating heart just as we do.

"We have been in touch with the Westchester Board of Legislators on this subject and are awaiting a meeting appointment. We want the same bullhook legislation here as has been enacted in other venues. They can still bring these circuses - just without the bullhooks, ax handles, baseball bats, pitchforks and other instruments used to inflict pain and suffering upon the most helpless victims in society."

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